Happy rebirthday, it’s gonna change you life.
When I turned 32 a couple weeks ago it wasn’t a big deal, I was happy with a good navratan korma. But K’s birthday yesterday…now that was a big deal. She turned….dumdumDUM…27!
Warning: my opinion to follow is a simplification/mis-statement of the “Saturn Return” in astrology, and/or the “sade sati” in Hindu Astrology, and/or probably other things, but you can please forgive me, and/or google those, and/or marvel at the transcultural unity of human experience. (I recommend all three.)
You’re born. Your stars are perfectly aligned. As a child you just are yourself, and that’s sublimely enough. You play with everyone, you eat what you want, cry when you want, and do what you want (within the bounds of parenting and circumstance of course). You just sort of wander around, learning every second (unless you’re watching TV) and growing in every way.
13.5ish you hit puberty. My apologies. You pick a social archetype and cram yourself into it. Skater, Student, Artist, Stoner, Athlete, Hippy, Comedian, Beauty, Goth, whatever, choose your label and try to fit it, you poor tragic bastard. You play with those who chose compatible labels, eat what your archetype eats, and have whatever attitudes came in your prepackaged personality starter kit.
Personally, at 12-13 I started paying attention in school instead of entertaining my classmates, started running, and (hopefully) started treating people better. (I still owe a massive karmic debt to Blaine G, the kid I used to beat up in elementary school. I’m sorry Blaine!)
27ish (i.e. 13.5ish years later) you get This Thing. There’s no arrival of acne, menses, facial hair, or any of that overt stuff, so it’s harder to notice, but it’s puberty 2.0, baby. Except with one major difference. Puberty sucks. This Thing is awesome.
If you’re over 27, at that age did you start/end a relationship, have kids, go to grad school, start/quit a job? Something? It’s not everyone of course, and would be an oversimplification to assert otherwise, but…
For my part, I was a bit of a late bloomer, taking 27 to prepare, but quitting my job, dumping most of my possessions and heading to Europe on a one-way ticket early in 28 to discover this whole Traveling thing. Other cultures, places, and experiences. Homelessness by choice. The vulnerability and invincibility of the vagrant. (But that’s another topic.)
Late 20’s you STOP clinging to any vestiges of an archetype that no longer fit you. Peer Pressure doesn’t influence your decisions very much (advertising and stupidity-on-a-societywide-scale are more topics for another day). You focus in and realize what you want to do, who you want to be. You can play with whoever you want, dammit, eat whatever you choose (significant difference from “want”), cry whenever you find it merited, etc.
Refreshing, isn’t it? Let’s go play football with the Nerds, smoke pot with the Students, and apply for graduate school with the Stoners.
But wait, there’s more. Much better would be to divide each of those phases in the middle, and make it ~7 year cycles.
At 7ish I got a proper bicycle and began exploring the world around me with some degree of independence (this was the Good Old Days when we weren’t as afraid of each other). At 20 I had fully left my childhood home and set up one of my own, entering into my first mature romantic relationship.
Increments of 7 do a better job of explaining the “27 Club” of musicians who die at that age; maybe they experienced that last phase so deeply and addictively that the tacit/subconscious feeling of its ending was unacceptable, or maybe unnecessary.
The Saturn Return of Astrology is about this, tying in to Saturn’s orbit, though that takes 29.4 years (so yay! We’re overachievers!) The Hindu sati sade on the other hand is structured around a circuit of 7.5 years. Darn those Indians, first yoga, now this? They think of all the answers. (Then forget them, but that too is another topic.)
To Sum Up.
Phase 1 (0-7ish): Childhood. You’re a child, learning and just being one of those. Toys, cake, and swimming pools!
Phase 1.5 (7-14ish): Advanced Childhood. Your personality is emerging more strongly, in rough draft form, fits and starts.
Phase 2 (14-20ish): Adolescence: You diferentiate from everyone else…well, a large percentage of everyone else, anyway. Fun, horrible, exciting, terrifying, boring, exhilarating, and of course: confusing.
Phase 2.5 (2-27ish): Young adulthood. You have calmed down from the vicissitudes of puberty. Your perceptions, conversations, and relationships improve and clarify. Golden Years.
Phase 3 (27ish-?): Adulthood: You have figured out who you are and can make your own choices. The bullshit habits fall away. Your plumage is bright and beautiful. Congratulations, the music is for you. (Kinda makes me wonder what happens at 40ish. Gives more validity to the often-maligned Midlife Crisis, no? Maybe all those red convertibles aren’t just about declining libidos and bald spots…)
So I propose a great Cosmic Toast to K, and to all the 27ish year olds (+/- 7.5 year increments). Happy rebirthday!